The Lessons of the Ruby Bridges Desegregation Story (1960)
On Nov. 14, 1960 a little girl was at the center of public school desegregation in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was only 6 yrs old at the time. I was 9 yrs old at that time. Why do I bring this up? Racial issues are only 1 or 2 generations in our past. Where do you think those other children are who, with their parents told her they’d never share a classroom, not even the building with her as long as she was there. Threats of poisoning and assassination from the white crowds who gathered every day for that first year should have never been experienced by a child that young. And oh yes, her parents lost their jobs as well.
Now why did they make that decision? It’s true, it was a different era/time but our first thought in this period is why is a European public school education looked upon as superior, even now?
I know that my parents (and other Black parents) thought the same thing. Even to the point of a Catholic private school education was even better if they could afford it.
This brings up many questions and complexities of life as African people in this paradigm. Ruby had devoted her life to this phenomenon. She is now 68 yrs old. There were many challenges that her parents had to navigate. My only question is: Is it fair to let a young child go through the trauma of heightened and emotional racial terrorism?
I have that painting in my living room as a reminder of just how much farther we still have to go. Don’t ever believe that the cultural quiet means the storms are gone. You know the answer.
Stay vigilant and protect your young people.
Home school and educate them as best as you can. Talk to them and tell them that you love them. Show them!
sbA Mkuu Mzee
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